Long ago, in a galaxy far away called high school, I had a dream of someday having six kids. In the galaxy I actually live in, God had other plans for me, but He has blessed me with many opportunities to love and nurture other people’s children.
One of the ways I do that is by teaching a group of 3rd grade girls one night every week at my church. Last year I had two girls on a regular basis and occasionally a few more. This year I have 4-5 every week!
There is often chaos in my classroom, and I sometimes wonder if the girls are actually learning anything about God and faith. But, oh those girls!
Such innocence, love, and beauty.
I watch them and think back to my own school years, and I pray they will always know their own beauty and value. I try to remind them of the special way God created each one of them so they will never be an adult who questions their place in the grander story.
Many nights as I’m finishing up after my 10 hours at work, I think of how nice it would be to go home and snuggle on the couch with my kitty boy. As an adult, I often feel the weight of work projects, mortgages, car problems, and other items of that ilk and there are times when I just want some down time. By that time of day, I’m tired and ready for some quiet…
My time with the girls is anything but quiet! They aren’t tired, and their energy level is seismic on club nights.
As we go through the night, I listen to their little girl conversations and problems. Talk of school, little sisters who hide their stuff, not liking math or dodge ball, boys with bloody noses.
We giggle and ponder the greatness of God. We play hangman and memorize Bible verses. Last week we all got new names. So now they’re Frank, Joe, Bob, and Moe. And I’m Boo.
Best of all, we love and share.
As much as I sometimes wish I didn’t have one more thing to do on a club night, I am always thankful I show up. As my sister said to me once, “you are always blessed by your time with them.”
It reminds me that life isn’t always as hard as I tend to think it is. The weight of the world sitting on my shoulders shrinks until I can pluck it off and tuck into my purse to worry about the next day. I leave the church each night still tired, but smiling. Ready for whatever tomorrow will bring.
Fyodor Dostoevsky once said, “The soul is healed by being with children.” I’d have to agree with that. My soul is definitely better after my time with my 3rd grade girls.
Won’t you join the story? How has your soul been healed by being with children?